No, this is not a sexual reference.  If you want to make something easier to play,  try making it harder.   There are lots of ways to do this, and you should try them all.   Say you have a measure that is just really hard to play.  Yes, you can just play it 100 times and you’ll get better.  As an alternative, try playing it one octave higher.  Yes, this will stretch your mind in figuring out how to do this, but after you’ve done this exercise and played it an octave higher a few times, you will be amazed at how much easier it is to play it as actually written!    Playing “faster” is not something that comes easily to me.  As an alternative to getting to the actual suggested tempo (and note that tempo markings are all  suggestions)  try playing a measure or two much faster than the suggested tempo.  It will seem so much easier when you slow it down.   Shifting is another technique that can be challenging.  Say you’re shifting from D to A on the A string.  Try shifting D to D for a while.  That D to A gets much easier .  The key to remember is that any of these “make it harder” exercises should only be done with one or two measures.  The idea is to stretch, but not so far that you snap!

1 thought on “Make it harder!

  1. David B Teague says:

    Ambitious bassists work at playing the Bach Suites at cello pitch. Some actually do this musically. (Jeff Bradetich, others).
    For now I’m contenting myself with playing them on my bass tuned in 5ths where the bass would play music written for the cello: 8vb. Those are hard enough there, not to mention that playing close 3rds in low positions isn’t feasible.
    That said, your suggestion to play some parts of these at cello pitch (8va for me) will be great fun, will stretch my mind, and perhaps speed up my playing.

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